30 Minutes to Learning the Art of Networking

eye-on-networking

Have you ever stumbled over your words when someone asks what you do for a living?

I have, and have missed out on precious networking opportunities. After reading Karyn’s eBook, The Art of Networking and Referrals, I’m no longer in the dark when it comes to networking with others.

How about you? Are you tired of letting networking opportunities pass you by? Whether you are unemployed, employed, or self-employed, I think we can all benefit from learning how to network with others.

Karyn Greenstreet, owner of Passion for Business, is a power house of information. Reading this 24-page program is like receiving virtual coaching. In the time it took me to read, I made important decisions, wrote my “elevator speech” and a list of action steps.

I thought networking was common sense. Now, I realize I was unprepared and unfocused. Now, I am prepared for the next opportunity to introduce myself. And, I’m looking at each new encounter as a possible opportunity to make a business connection.

What’s holding you back from making introductions and building business connections?

Roadblocks to networking

Although I’ve been in the counseling business since 2001, I was hesitant to sell my self. I don’t like to be sold to, and I don’t want to present myself in a pushy manner. Now, I am looking at networking from a new perspective.

Networking, like any other relationships is balanced. It is about giving and receiving. It’s not all about me and what I offer. It’s a mutual relationship. It is as much about learning about the other as it is about sharing what you do. What a relief – I can do this!

I am out of balance in another way too. I focus mainly on marketing through my website and articles. This leads to word of mouth referrals and client self-referrals, yet I’ve been oblivious to connecting outside of the virtual world.

Electronic marketing appeals to me, because it is more practical while raising two young kids. As they grow, I’ll grow, and hopefully my business will follow. It is time to get out of the office and away from the computer. I am ready to meet live people!

So, how do you get started?

Get on the road to networking

1. Prepare a short, interesting introduction:

Karyn teaches how to write your “elevator speech”: a short introduction that you will use each time you meet someone. Karyn suggests including three parts: 1) your name, 2) your business name, and 3) your services/products benefits. For example, my introduction is the following:

“My name is Marci Payne. I am an individual, marriage, and family counselor.

I work with people who want to enjoy their life and relationships more.”

This has got to be an improvement from “I am a licensed professional counselor in private practice.” What’s a licensed professional counselor? And, how would that benefit me?

2. Decide where you want to focus your energy and why:

Unless you have the time and energy to build one-on-one relationships in social media, focus your energy somewhere else. To me, social networking is more about numbers, than about personal connections.

What works for you? Conferences? Networking Groups? Coffees? Face book?

3. Think of each meeting/new introduction as networking:

While I’m open to online connections and have met some talented people, I am looking at group meetings and each new person as a possible business connection. I love learning about others passions and fields. Now, I need to match my enthusiasm for others with sharing what I do too!

And, if you are still stuck and looking for new ideas, click here to sign up for Karyn’s mailing list, and you will receive her networking program as a free gift. (Note: Karyn doesn’t know I’m inviting you to her business products.)

Now, it’s your turn. Use the comment section to try out your introduction. Share your networking success stories.

How has networking impacted your career, work, or business?

 

Photo Credits: Michael Heiss

13 responses to “30 Minutes to Learning the Art of Networking

  1. Hi Marci. I meet a lot of folks at events as a fundraiser and political advisor and I’ve noticed that I tend to remember better those who don’t rely on a business card. Personal interaction goes a long way with being memorable, in my opinion, rather than eagerly handing out a card. But to your point, yes, a well crafted elevator speech can really pack a punch in networking circles. Great post.

    • Belinda, Thank you for visiting my blog and for your insight. I agree I wouldn’t remember who handed me a card unless there is some personal interaction that goes with it! I have made some great connections at conferences. I’ve learned I’m not typically a “speed networking.”

  2. Hi Marci! Your opening line hooked me. I seem at a loss of words when someone asks what I do for a living. I like your three points. I definitely need to create a better introduction.

    I’ve been using social media as my networking tool but I’m open to trying #3 also. Thanks for your insights

    • I’m glad I hooked you 🙂 I love how you describe yourself on your blog. Your message carries your enthusiasm for what you are sharing in your blog.

      For me, I know it’s easier to write it, then it is to say it!

  3. Marci, it’s funny how gun-shy we therapists are about any networking and promotional activities. I’m guessing most therapists would rather re-take their licensure exam than have to network on a regular basis. And of all professions, we’re probably the best at establishing rapport and starting conversation. You’d think we therapists would be the best networkers!

    I’ve not yet read the e-book you’re referring to, but a couple of things I’ve worked out: carry a pen with me and jot a couple of notes (when no one’s looking) about the person. You WILL forget who they were and if you have notes, you can refresh your memory when you go to send them a note.

    Also, I’ve found that most people don’t understand that networking is about building relationships. You need to invest time, don’t expect that one casual conversation is going to lead to a referral source.

    I’m going to post a link to this on my site, I think it’s important for therapists to better understand networking.

    Jennifer

    • Jennifer, great point about networking being relationship building. I can do that. I definitely more comfortable with it being mutual instead of coming off as a car salesman!

      I like to think of my Linked In contacts as a roldex. I can refer back to the “rolodex” whenever I have a question about that person’s area of expertise. Or, maybe I’ve found a group that someone may like. I am naturally a connector and love sharing resources.

      And, thank you for linking to my post. I have bookmarked your site, so I can read your goodies too!

  4. Pingback: Networking for Therapists | Marketing Your Private Practice

  5. Hi, I’m Kat Jordan.

    I write women’s fiction and I blog about the publishing industry.

    I’m active on several forums because I’m marketing my first novel, and trying to finish the second. I’m published through Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. My novel is available only as an e-book right now.

    I found this post interesting – and I’m always looking for ways to improve my marketing skills.

  6. I see a lot of good articles here… what template do you use ?

  7. I’m sure that i will come back to your website soon, keep us posting

  8. Awsome content, bookmarked for future referrence, regards Michael..

  9. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.